Teaching English in South Africa

“Smiley children and supportive staff make this 14 day trip as a volunteer English teacher as rewarding as it is fun.”


Teach English to disadvantaged children | schools in Knysna in the Western Cape | conversational English only | chance to progress from assisting in lessons to teaching alone | option to teach sports, drama, arts and music too | accommodation and food included

Description of Teaching English in South Africa

This teaching English in South Africa volunteering project is based in the lovely coastal town of Knysna. You will be teaching disadvantaged children there, initially assisting the teacher but eventually leading classes on your own, if you feel confident to do so. There are typically between 15 and 40 students in each class.

The emphasis of this 14 day project is on helping students to speak English – there’s no need to be an expert in grammar and literature to volunteer, although you need to be comfortable standing up in front of the class. Sometimes, you might be asked to help out with other subjects, but this is optional. If you’d like to teach other subjects, including sports, drama, arts and music, that’s possible, too.

Volunteer teaching is very fulfilling and it’s not unusual for volunteers to be in tears when their time to leave comes around! We work with a handful of schools in Knysna, all on the Garden Route of the beautiful Western Cape. Many children from the poorer township communities come to these schools. Our volunteer teaching programme has been running here for many years in this region, and it’s had a huge and beneficial impact on the local community.

Resources are often scarce in these schools, but standards are generally very high. Any lack of materials or facilities is more than made up for by the enthusiasm of students and the staff. You will be warmly welcomed by the wonderfully enthusiastic and energetic children who seem to never stop smiling!

Your placement will start with assisting teachers but, as you may progress to having sole responsibility for a class or group. The staff and teachers at the schools will give you plenty of support and help, but it’s always good to just ask if you need something and be prepared to use your initiative.

Travel Team

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Departure information

Teaching placements are available throughout the year during term time.
2008 terms run 16 Jan - 20 Mar, 14 Apr - 27 Jun, 14 Jul - 26 Sep, 6 Oct - 05 Dec
Holiday type

Volunteer travel - what's it all about

Are you looking for an adventurous trip with a purpose, or on a gap year or career break? If you want to make a difference in some of the world’s most important conservation areas - and in community projects - then volunteer trips are for you! Volunteers tend to have a sense of adventure, and come from a range of different backgrounds and from all over the world.
Edward Abbey said 'sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul'.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Teaching English in South Africa

Our company:

You taking part in this project enables us to continue to donate financial assistance as well as necessary goods, where it is needed around the world. Examples of donations include building new classrooms, providing school uniforms for poorer students, buying computers, sports equipment, playgrounds, toys, mattresses, classroom equipment and funding school trips and the building of libraries, and more. We also donate significantly to conservation research efforts and the purchasing of necessary conservation equipment. In the past, these donations have been made in all continents and in projects where we work, and some where we do not work.

Recent donations made include:

- Monthly donations to a variety of schools, orphanage and animal sanctuaries around the world to help with costs.

- Donations to a school in Zambia to sponsor the education of five children per year.

- Donation made to a school in Ghana to build new signs to advertise the school, buy a photocopier, buy reading books and pain some classrooms in need of repair.

- Donation of funds to build a toilet at one of the schools we work with in Cambodia – until now the children have had to go into neighbouring houses or in the bushes!

- Computer and Camera for a Street Kids project in South Africa.

- Ongoing monthly donations made to orphanage in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and every year additional money given at Christmas to buy presents for children.

- Approximately £1,500 towards the building of a desperately needed classroom in a Zulu school in eMakhosini, South Africa.

- Water tanks for various projects in Ghana and Kenya to allow the children safe drinking water.

- Toys and play equipment for children at a project that was severely lacking funds for this in South Africa.

- A donation of books for the Red Cross Hospital in Cape Town.

- A donation of $400 to the elephant project in Thailand.

We are committed to upholding strict ethical standards that ensure a positive and lasting impact upon the environments, communities, institutions, volunteers, animals, children and people that we work with.

For example:

- We encourage our volunteers to make the most of local opportunities available to them, such as shopping at local markets, eating in local restaurants and using local services and transport.

- We encourage volunteers to pay fairly for goods and services. We believe that
over payment for goods and services or payment to beggars can have negative consequences and result in the over-reliance on tourism within the local community.

- We strongly advise against purchasing wildlife souvenirs or anything which may perpetuate the death or cruel treatment of animals for the purpose of profit.

- We advise on dress codes and codes of behaviour in all of our destination countries to ensure volunteers don’t cause offence to local communities.

Our aim is to create always a win-win-win situation in terms of the benefits for the local communities and institutions that we work in, for us and for the volunteer. We do not embark on any project that is not beneficial to the communities, institutes or volunteers. We conduct regular volunteer satisfaction surveys to monitor our performance.

Our projects enable vital conservation, research, care and education work to take place directly where it is most needed. For example, the schools where we teach English very often have no other English teachers, and so they rely on us for continued lessons. We kept a Species Survival Conservation project in South Africa afloat until completion after it was threatened by lack of funds. Our volunteers contribute, all over the world, to projects that would not exist without them.

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